Government expects to go out to tender on the long-discussed cruise pier project by the end of next month, Premier Alden McLaughlin said this week.
New piers that can accommodate Oasis-class mega cruise ships remain a priority for government, despite the new personnel in the administration following the May election – including some vocal opponents of the project.
Mr. McLaughlin in his strategic policy statement to the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday listed the delivery of a modern cruise pier and cargo port among the key infrastructure priorities over the next four years.
He said work had been progressing to redesign the piers to reduce the amount of coral that would need to be dredged to build the facility, which will be able to accommodate four cruise ships.
He said preliminary designs and cost estimates were complete, though he did not give a figure for the expected cost of the project.
“Prequalification of bidders and negotiations with cruise lines are ongoing as well as is the preparation of bid documents, with a projected tender issue date at the end of September, 2017,” he added.
The Premier said the project would also involve enlarging the cargo facilities, which he described as “key to our economic development.”
He said, “The ability to accept larger ships will reduce shipping costs and consequently reduce the cost of goods bought locally. It will also allow fresh fruit and produce to be brought in directly from Central America by ships that now pass us by for Florida.”
The Premier also referenced possible plans to make Cayman a “transshipment port” for perishable cargo out of Central America.
“We will see how this develops, but at the moment the potential is certainly welcomed and will be pursued.”